People Who Live in the Shade

Revisionist historian Thaddeus Russell on American renegades, delusional socialists, left-libertarians, and Obama fans

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[Libertarian historian] David Beito somehow found out about me and asked me to participate in this Historians Against the War organization. He had basically taken over their blog; no one else was interested in doing it. He was putting libertarian stuff on the blog, and they weren’t happy about it, but there was so little energy in that organization that they couldn’t bother one way or another. Then I came along and we really went after Obama hard, especially over what I would call his imperialist foreign policy prescriptions.

We also then were chastising the organization for not criticizing him. Even after Obama was elected, even after the inauguration, all they would do is put anti-Bush stuff on the front of the website, and it just drove us crazy. For months we kept saying, “Would you please now talk about the guy who’s in office?” Finally they expelled us.

reason: Are there other areas where libertarian scholarship has notably influenced your thinking?

Russell: Charles Paul Freund’s article for reason, “In Defense of Vulgarity,” was one of the first things by a libertarian I read. It was stunning. And it helped me see how the free market can produce genuine liberation for ordinary, working-class people and subvert repressive traditions more quickly and thoroughly than any formal social movement.

I think what I like most about libertarians is that they are perpetually oppositional. They never merge their identities with the sovereign power. When speaking of the nation-state, they don’t say “we.”

reason: Where do you see your work on civil rights fitting together with other strains of revisionist civil rights history?

Russell: It begins with Robin Kelley, a black historian. He burst onto the scene in the ’90s. He has a great book called Race Rebels, which every libertarian should read, even though Robin’s a communist. That’s where I part with him. But in particular in that book, he has several amazing articles that look at what Marxists call the lumpenproletariat. He has one chapter that was obviously an inspiration for me; it’s called “Shiftless of the World Unite!” It’s essentially the history of black resistance to work, which he champions. He says, basically, “Why is it a good thing to devote your life to work?”

The bottom-up history of the ’60s and ’70s made all black people into ideal American citizens. That’s what they had to do to make them into heroes to put them in textbooks. And Robin challenged that. He said, “As a matter of fact, there was something good about challenging white-dominant norms.”

But Robin and that generation, they make all that activity into this collectivist, proto-socialist set of events or activities, which I don’t. I say it is what it is. It’s people having fun, people having sex, people avoiding work, people fighting the cops in the street, but there’s no evidence of any explicit political discourse about it.

reason: You do talk at least some of the time in terms of political resistance. The thrust of the civil rights chapter is that these people who were less respectable played a major role in Birmingham and therefore in ending coerced segregation in the South.

Russell: Absolutely, but there’s no evidence that there was anything consciously political about it. They simply wanted to get the cops off their block or off their back, literally. Whereas civil rights was always an explicitly political project.

All the heroes in the book don’t speak. There are no manifestos. There’s no political discourse whatsoever. It’s simply behavior that I look at. And I don’t make any claims about their consciousness. That’s very important for me. One of my major issues with New Left historians is that they make lots and lots of claims on behalf of “the people.”

reason: Let me zero in on one example from your book. You mention the wave of strikes that hit the country in 1919, and you make a pretty interesting argument that they’re better understood as a sign of the rising American consumer culture than a sign of incipient American socialism.

Russell: The 1919 strike wave has always been portrayed as America’s revolutionary moment, that these were essentially socialistic strikes aimed at seizing control of industries. And in fact, not one of them was intended to do that. The leaders of many of the strikes were socialist. There’s no question about that. But the strikes were waged for higher wages, better working conditions, and shorter hours. Period. These were not Bolshevik demands. These were bread-and-butter issues: more stuff and more leisure. That’s completely consistent with the rising consumer culture at the time, and not consistent with socialism.

reason: A 1970s labor historian might push back by saying there were experiments in grassroots democracy, with Seattle becoming the American version of the Paris Commune for a week. You had people setting up committees to take care of garbage collection, things like that. That can be portrayed as an example of people trying to administer their society themselves.

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  • Max||

    Jesse, that's wonderful. You've found more stuff to make you feel more comfortable with the right-wing assholes you hang out with and cater to. Here's a man of the left who said some nasty things about Roosevelt. Well, there you go.

  • PIRS||

    Hi Max! Chipper this afternoon as usual I see.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Max

    Max, H&R's pet yorkie.

    Here, Max! Here boy, go fetch! That's a good boy, Max!

    No! Nooo, no! Don't do your banalities on the carpet, I just had it steamed! Bad Max, bad!!

  • Jen||

    This is by no means a defense of Max, but you seem to have a weird obsession with the idea of people's bodily fluids getting on your stuff.

  • ||

    you seem to have a weird obsession with the idea of people's bodily fluids getting on your stuff.

    I think it is a cultural hold over from pre-Colombian times when Spain was predominately Muslim. Muslims have a thing about the uncleanliness of body fluids. There are whole sections of the Koran about it.

    North European stock on the other hand still retains its pagan love of piss, shit, blood and cum.

    It could very well be it is our love affair with the various body fluids that is out of the cultural norm.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Jen,

    This is by no means a defense of Max, but you seem to have a weird obsession with the idea of people's the pet yorkie's bodily fluids getting on your stuff.


    Only his banalities on the carpet I just steamed.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hang around, Jen, and you'll understand why we compare Max's "writing" to dog leavings.

  • wayne||

    And in a recent survey of Americans, Ronald Reagan was rated #1 amongst US Presidents! Roosevelt was #6!!

    Will the atrocities never cease :-(?

  • PIRS||

    "He has one chapter that was obviously an inspiration for me; it’s called “Shiftless of the World Unite!” It’s essentially the history of black resistance to work, which he champions. He says, basically, “Why is it a good thing to devote your life to work?”"

    This sounds somewhat like what, in the 1990's was called "slacker culture". I understand the resistance to 'devoting one's life to work' - but there needs to be a ballance. I have not read the book he is refering to so I will not pass judgement on it. But I will agree that there is a kind of person who devotes so much time to work that he or she ignores the whole point of working at all - the ability to live a pleasant life.

  • DADIODADDY||

    ant/grasshopper...you decide.

  • Monty Python||

    SERGEANT MAJOR: Don't stand there gawping like you've never seen the Hand of God before! Now, today, we're going to do marching up and down the square! That is, unless any of you got anything better to do. Well?! Anyone got anything they'd rather be doing than marching up and down the square?! Yes?! Atkinson. What would you... rather be doing, Atkinson?

    ATKINSON: Well, to be quite honest, Sarge, I'd... rather be at home with the wife and kids.

    SERGEANT MAJOR: Would you, now?!

    ATKINSON: Yes, Sarge.

    SERGEANT MAJOR: Right! Off you go! Now, everybody else happy with my little plan... of marching up and down the square a bit?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    “Shiftless of the World Unite!”

    Is this for people like Ohio Orrin who don't have a shift key?

  • Old Mexican||

    I was just the only person I knew in my whole world who felt that Obama was basically a neocon and just terribly reactionary in every single way. There's not one thing I like about him. He represents every negative strain in American history that I write about.


    Welcome, Brother!

  • Edwin||

    Libertarians aren't doing radical thinking - well, I guess they are depending on how you define it; it certainly is radical to take a stance AGAINST common sense policies/understandings that civilization has progressed to not just within the modern era but even thousands of yeas ago, because so few people are stupid enough to do so.

    Ignoring the predictability of law in favor of some imaginary esoteric perfect justice (the constant libertarian appeal to courts as an alternative to legislative regulation) is stupid - there's a reason we remember and celebrate hammurabi. Ignoring history and pretending that what was the farthest thing from a free market (hint: do you really think the amount of titles held was fairly and evenly divided among races?) could magically transform into a truly equal world in the 60's is also really stupid. Ignoring thousands of years of brutal and consistent warfare in tribal areas, and expecting everyone to just get along regardless of how wildly varying people's ideas of who-has-the-right-to-do-what are, is also really stupid.

    Yes, these are all really radical ideas because few people are actually that stupid.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    Libertarians aren't doing radical thinking - well, I guess they are depending on how you define it; it certainly is radical to take a stance AGAINST common sense policies/understandings that civilization has progressed to not just within the modern era but even thousands of yeas ago, because so few people are stupid enough to do so.


    Nothing you wrote above makes sense. Could you please write in actual sentences? Subject and predicate; noun, verb, modifiers, adverbs. While you're at it, could you also make actual arguments witn premises and a conclusion derived from them, please?

    Ignoring the predictability of law in favor of some imaginary esoteric perfect justice (the constant libertarian appeal to courts as an alternative to legislative regulation) is stupid


    Actually, Edwin, law under the purview of politicians is VERY UNPREDICTABLE, just looking at the current Federal Register. Instead, economic laws and the Golden Rule have been fixed in culture for millenia.

    Ignoring history and pretending that what was the farthest thing from a free market[...] could magically transform into a truly equal world in the 60's is also really stupid.


    You are absolutely right - what WAS the farthest thing from a free market (i.e. New Deal Fascism) did not magically transform itself into a "truly equal world" in the 60s. That world never came to be, and New Deal fascism was not a free market or even a shadow of it. Given those facts, I don't understand your argument, it's nothing more than silly rambling.

  • Edwin||

    courts are way more unpredictable than codified laws

    hey, you guys are the ones who claim they wouldn't have voted for the civil rights act

    "Instead, economic laws and the Golden Rule have been fixed in culture for millenia."

    Yeah? How's that supposed to work? There's one magical tome in the sky that will resolve every dispute or issue between people?
    People have differing ideas about who has what rights - people will also use violence to defend what they think are their rights, absent some third party, society-based consensus on what their rights are. Every group of people trying to enforce its own idea of rights does not bode well for long-term peace. Again, see the constant warfare and clan bickering in more tribalistic societies.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    courts are way more unpredictable than codified laws


    Liar.

    hey, you guys are the ones who claim they wouldn't have voted for the civil rights act


    Non sequitur.

    Yeah? How's that supposed to work? There's one magical tome in the sky that will resolve every dispute or issue between people?


    No, people have resolved issues in pretty much similar ways for millenia - through contracts, exchanges, agreements, marriages, and/or the arbitration of elders/judges.

    People have differing ideas about who has what rights[...]


    That's why they call it a "dispute."

    [...]people will also use violence to defend what they think are their rights[...]


    God forbid people used violence to respond to violations of their rights.

    Every group of people trying to enforce its own idea of rights does not bode well for long-term peace.


    TRULY quite different from what we have NOW, right Edwin???? Governments do NOT assure peace, quite the contrary: War is their health.

    Again, see the constant warfare and clan bickering in more tribalistic societies.


    You mean, like the tribalistic societies we call "public unions"?

  • Hooha||

    To quote the wise and mighty Companion Cube;

    "Pwned, bitches! Dominated!"

    +1, cuz I love to watch you do your thing, OM. I find I just never have the energy or drive to dismantle their crap, not that I'd be as good at it as you are.

  • WTF||

    Yes - have to give OM credit for actually being willing to go through the effort to take apart their bullshit point by point.

  • Bucky||

    actually, there is a recent example of what Edwin writes "...people will also use violence to defend what they think are their rights"
    the beating of two Fox news people at the scene of a murder outside an IHOP.
    the people were demanding privacy in a very public place...

  • Edwin||

    You so regularly miss the point on every single thing anyone ever says it's not even funny

    You're not just libertarian stupid, you're STUPID stupid

  • Edwin||

    yes they are, how am I lying? If something is codified, then I know exactly what is and isn't allowed. If it isn't, it's up to 12 idiots or a judge who's only trained in law. I'd be fucked if it weren't for pre-codified building regulations.

    it's not a non-sequitur, it's exactly what I was talking about. Your guys' solution to what is clearly not a free market and never would be a free market is to only write one little law in DC that says that only governments throughout the SOuth hundreds of miles a way just "have to" stop discriminating, and then start calling that still-unfree market a free market. Hint, if one race hold almost all the tile to all the land and capital, it STILL isn't a free market, no matter how much you call it that.

    You completely missed the point on the next three responses. If two people have a dispute, and htey both say they're right, without some 3rd-party enforced resolution they'll just duke it out. You'd replace our sometimes wars with constant wars within the confines of a country.
    Not to mention the very idea of a "contract" is to write an agreement that is enforceable by law. You literally just said that you're against law intruding into places that by definition are where laws are meant to intrude.

    And yes,tribalistic societis had mnore war. Half the history of new peaces being formed involve some central strongman crushing all the other tribes and then unifying them. See: Shaka Zulu. Not saying that methodology is a GOOD thing, but the point is lots of little state-like entities will only lead more in-fighting.

  • Edwin||

    There are a million little details involved in just basic property rights. But if everyone's premise is that they can use force to defend their rights, then when they disagree even on a small detail, they both think they legitimately have the right to use force against the other.
    Not to mention that there is also the issue of judgement on fact.

    If I accuse you of killing my brother, and I sue you, and I win in my court, I have the right to threaten you with force or apply force to get sompensation. But if you're court says you're innocent, you say you don't have to pay shit, and you have the right to forcibly stop me from extracting restitution. Neither of us is required to negotiate in our views. We both think we can use serious force against the other guy completely justifiably.

    How about basic property rights? You lose something, I find it a month later. Your "protectiuon agency" or court or whatever says that things can only be abandoned with intent, mine says that after a certain time, it doesn't matter, the property is abandoned. Again, we have a situation where two people their agencies or whatever truly believe that they can use extreme fore against each other.

    Your scheme has people duking it out over every little thing.
    That's why the vast majority of people, having common sense, see the need for a 3rd party to come up with a finalised resolution. A thing with with a monopoly on JUDGEMENT, not force (which is what the state is).

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    yes they are, how am I lying?


    Because this: "courts are way more unpredictable than codified laws" is a lie.

    What makes courts more unpredicable is precisely codified law, not the other way around. As MORE laws are in the books, the LESS certainty exists in courts, as judges have to interpret every time just what the goddamned subnormals that wrote them meant. Instead of relying on common law and good sense, judges are hobbled by (or take advantage of, you take your pick) codified "law" to dispense justice.

    If something is codified, then I know exactly what is and isn't allowed.


    Bullshit. If that were true, there would not be that many lawyers.

    If it isn't, it's up to 12 idiots or a judge who's only trained in law.


    It is STILL 12 idiots and a judge, moron. The outcomes have become increasingly worse against people's rights because of your beloved "codified law."

    I'd be fucked if it weren't for pre-codified building regulations.


    Ha ha ha!!!

    You have NO idea, NO inkling, not a hint of what you're talking about. NONE. Regulation has made millionaires of lawyers, for avery good reason: Because those are indecipherable. Regulations have served to infringe an individual's rights especially for those without the wherewithal to defend themselves, because the regulation SHIFTS the burden of proof on the DEFENDANT, not on the ACCUSER (normally, your beloved State.)

    it's not a non-sequitur


    Well, it is. How about that?

    This "hey, you guys are the ones who claim they wouldn't have voted for the civil rights act" has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING here. NOTHING.

    Your guys' solution to what is clearly not a free market and never would be a free market is to only write one little law in DC that says that only governments throughout the SOuth hundreds of miles a way just "have to" stop discriminating, and then start calling that still-unfree market a free market.


    Your rant is indecipherable. Please, write in sentences: SUBJECT, PREDICATE. Actual nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

    Hint, if one race hold almost all the tile to all the land and capital, it STILL isn't a free market, no matter how much you call it that.


    You have no clue what "free market" means. Pretty much only ONE race owns land in Japan - does that ipso facto means people are not freely exchaing goods?

    GOD, you're a fool.

  • Edwin||

    what you're saying now is just nonsense and blatantly obviously false. If what is and what isn't considered proper building design is pre-codified I know exactly what to expect from law before I even start building. Ditto a lot of safety/health regulations.

    I've read the regulations and they're very decipherable and very concise.

    waiting for the next judgement in 50 states, each with multiple layers of courts, for each and every aspect of building, to be determined by people who are not professionals, is NOT predictable.

    If you're going to deny this, you're just denying common sense. You're just doing the Monty Python negation-not-argument.

    and again, I believe these things to be true, because they are true. How am I lying? Do you mean to say that they're incorrect, becase that's NOT the same thing as lying. Maybe if every time you disagree with someone, you accuse them of lying you should grow up a little.

    none of what I said about the South is a non-sequitur, because I brought up the point in the first place in the OP, and then you responded, remember? What I'm trying to tell you is, you guys are simply anti-government reactionaries. You believe in free markets, but when a market clearly isn't free, and society tries to rectify that through government, you guys complain simply because it's a government action. All the land and capital in the South was in the hands of whites because of the past 150+ years of opression. Whites were the ones who wanted to continue opressing and denying economic opportunities from blacks, and they held all the cards so they could continue to do it. Only getting rid of government discrimination by legislation wouldn't have done anything - the market would have still been unfree, because it had been made permanently so by the past 150+ years insanely biased collection of all the land and capital, no matter how much you guys call it a free market. Get it?
    See, everybody else understands that, and on a fundamental level the issue is actually one of an unfree market. But because the solution that was proposed and taken up was one of a broad legislation (the only solution that could have been EFFECTIVE QUICKLY and cheaply), you guys freak out against it because it's "TEH GUVMINT!!!11!!"

  • Edwin||

    Yeah, people of one race own all the land in Japan, but it isn't an issue because they don't have a history of massive oppression of sizeable minorities. Japanese people aren't going to discriminate against other japanese people. Japan doesn't even have sizeable minorities.

    though there is discrimination in Japan against foreign workers. And it does end up screwing them over. But of course, libertarians don't give a shit about that, you knowm people getting fucked over.

  • Edwin||

    last I checked, libertarian theories on landownership involved homesteading. That is ANY human could homestead

    well, for almost 100 years, blacks couldn't even own ANYTHING. And by thge time homesteading started, it was only in the midwest, and all the land in the South was owned. I don't know the details about how the land in the South came into people's title, but I do know that it didn't go to slaves while blacks were slaves (a slave can't own land), and I doubt any sizeable amount was able to be gotten by blacks after slavery was ended, if there was any left.

  • Edwin||

    so if the whole system of land ownership/homesteading - and remember, EVERY business and economic activity occurs on land (except fishing) - was the farthest thing from the libertarian ideal of a free market, then the South in the 60's wasn't really a free market, was it? Simply passing a law saying that governments had to stop discriminating wouldn't have changed the title scheme, and the market still would not have been a free market

  • DLM||

    There's one magical tome in the sky that will resolve every dispute or issue between people?

    Some variation of the 'Golden Rule' (treat others as you would have them treat you) exists in just about every major culture in the world.

  • DLM||

    There's one magical tome in the sky that will resolve every dispute or issue between people?

    Some variation of the 'Golden Rule' (treat others as you would have them treat you) exists in just about every major culture in the world.

  • Principal||

    Mr. Edwin, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Great idea, Edwin. Too bad Team Red/Team Blue can't manage "common sense policies".

  • ||

    As a left-wing libertarian myself, I found the article interesting. I might have to purchase the book.

  • GMT II||

    Mom warned you about leaving the house without wearing your corrective shoes ole' clubfoot.

  • Tony||

    But the strikes were waged for higher wages, better working conditions, and shorter hours. Period. These were not Bolshevik demands. These were bread-and-butter issues: more stuff and more leisure. That’s completely consistent with the rising consumer culture at the time, and not consistent with socialism.

    Fascinating point, and one I'm not sure many here would agree with. You assert that free market activity will lead to a higher standard of living, but not how. Turns out things like workplace regulations and increasing prosperity go hand-in-hand (and I would argue they compound each other).

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    You assert that free market activity will lead to a higher standard of living, but not how.


    The how has been explained to you many times over. Employers have to compete with each other for employees, having to up the ante to gather the more productive workers. That's no assertion, that's economics.

    Turns out things like workplace regulations and increasing prosperity go hand-in-hand[...]


    That's false. Workplace regulations are placed after workplaces already invent them and implement them - regulators are NOT clever people that sit down and think of new ways to fix problems they have not seen.

  • Tony||

    The how has been explained to you many times over. Employers have to compete with each other for employees, having to up the ante to gather the more productive workers. That's no assertion, that's economics.

    And what on earth prevents a race to the bottom instead of to the top? Seems to me that finding ways to spend less on labor would lead to more market success.

    Workplace regulations are placed after workplaces already invent them and implement them - regulators are NOT clever people that sit down and think of new ways to fix problems they have not seen.

    Well, workplaces don't invent them because of market competition, they invent them because workers organize and demand them, which may lead to public policy.

  • PIRS||

    "And what on earth prevents a race to the bottom instead of to the top? Seems to me that finding ways to spend less on labor would lead to more market success."

    Not if the end product is crap. There is a point at which the best workers will leave you if you treat them badly.

    "Well, workplaces don't invent them because of market competition, they invent them because workers organize and demand them, which may lead to public policy."

    I think I may understand your confusion. You view “the market” as including the potential employers but not the potential employees. This is the way some conservatives view it, but not most libertarians. In truth the market is BOTH. One way of understanding this point is to realize that a unit of currency is just a commodity like anything else. If I buy a hamburger for $1.00 it would make just as much sense to say that the restaurant is purchasing my dollar for the price of a hamburger. Do you understand?

  • WTF||

    If I buy a hamburger for $1.00 it would make just as much sense to say that the restaurant is purchasing my dollar for the price of a hamburger. Do you understand?

    Sadly, Tony does not.

  • Tony||

    No, I don't. Nor do I care to. I don't have any slogans like "race to the bottom" with which to dismiss this so I'm going somewhere else.

  • RyanXXX||

    Tony, you're completely missing the point. The workers who organized these strikes were able to accomplish great things FOR THEMSELVES, just by organizing, without the help of the paternalist State.

  • ||

    The workers who organized these strikes were able to accomplish great things FOR THEMSELVES, just by organizing, without the help of the paternalist State.

    Stop it.

    You don't want to make Tony cry.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If Tony is right, the more regulations, the better.

    Pity it doesn't work. We could just pass an infinite number of laws, and POOF! perfect society.

  • Tony||

    Actually no. For the thousandth time, just because you are a purist extremist doesn't mean I am.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You're a liberal, Tony, which is just as bad as being a so-con.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    And what on earth prevents a race to the bottom instead of to the top?


    Nothing except people's choices. Is THERE a race to the bottom RIGHT NOW, Tony? There IS a bottom, you know - called the Mimimum Wage. Why aren't we all receiving only that?

    Don't ask these childish questions without thinking about what you're actually asking. Leave that to the marxists.

    Seems to me that finding ways to spend less on labor would lead to more market success.


    Indeed!! Hence: Automation.

    Yet, NO RACE TO THE BOTTOM.

    Well, workplaces don't invent them because of market competition, they invent them because workers organize and demand them, which may lead to public policy.


    That's a BIG LIE. Workers could not care less about such things; it's supervisors that do, because accidents COST MONEY in DOWNTIME. Before workplace safety became mandatory, many cement plants in the US were already following safety protocols and measuring accident rates, since the 20's.

  • Edwin||

    the problem with the librtarian claim is that the way workplace abuses happen is that the employer essentially unilaterally modifies the original contract with the threat of firing the employee later. Employment isn't and never was done by extremely detailed contracts for most workers - hell half the workers nowadays only speak spanish. Even if they were, said contracts would still be hard to enforce, and then MANY firings would go to court. And then if the former employee loses, he's more screwed by the bills from the court action than is teh employer.

    The manager(s) who pinch that secretary's ass or ask her to wear more revealing clothing didn't explictly say they would do so when they hired her, they just start unilaterally doing that later. The employer who demands his workers come in on Saturday or else the employee is fired never explicitly said he would do that.

    Workplace regulations like this can be seen as protecting people's basic property and contract rights, even the libertarian version of them - just more effective than courts would be. Especially so where the original contract didn't stipulate overtime pay or workplace demeanor. I've said it over and over again, legislation is often an alternative to the inefficiencie and basic problems that are inherent in courts.

    MAYBE you could have a libertarian solution of specialized employment courts, deliberately made cheap and quick for workers. And maybe an employment contract registry. But that would be stupid; legislation is much faster. Hell, creating such a court system (a solution that's been used in other industries and areas of society) would itself involve legislation to mandate it.

  • Edwin||

    To demonstrate how libertarianism can be used by sick fucks to stretch logic and justify the worst abuses, I submit to you a quote from Walter block:

    Another type of pinching or sexual harassment is that between a secretary and her boss. Although to many people, and especially to many people in the women’s liberation movement, there is no real difference between this pinching and the pinching that occurs on the street, the fact is that the pinching that takes place between a secretary and her boss, while objectionable to many women, is not a coercive action. It is not a coercive action like the pinching that takes place in the public sphere because it is part of a package deal: the secretary agrees to all aspects of the job when she agrees to accept the job and especially when she agrees to keep the job.

  • Edwin||

    and continued...

    The proof of the voluntary nature of an act in a private place is that the person endangered (the woman, in the cases we have been considering) has no claim whatsoever to the private place in question, the office or the store. If she continues to patronize or work at a place where she is molested, it can only be voluntary

  • Edwin||

    such sick-fuck shit only comes up in libertarianism so frequently

    every libertarian is a sick fuck asshole aspberger case nerd, or paranoid conspracy theorist polishing his gun huddled down in his bomb shelter somewhere in Montana

    anybody who isn't like either of those isn't a libertarian, he's a conservative/Republican type

  • Edwin||

    *I mean it's only in libertarianism that such shit comes up so frequently

  • Mr. FIFY||

    What if the "mean old dirty-minded boss harassing poor defenseless woman" was, in fact, a complete lie made up by a foul-tempered, ugly-souled, feminist harpy?

    Oh, yeah... just as with union goons threatening scab labor, that never happens.

  • PIRS||

    Walter Block wrote a book called "Defending the Undefendable". If I had to guess, that is the origin of the quotes you cite. What I find most interesting is that you do not even attempt to refute the very point he was making. Rather than attempt to engage into a debate about his ideas you do the equivelent of a child's "Ewwww - discusting". So, do you have a refutation of his point? Here is the book I refer to : http://mises.org/books/defending.pdf

  • Edwin||

    It is completely fucked up that you entertain the idea that you have the right to pich your secretaries ass and in other ways completely dehumanize her

    you don't even have the right to do that according to libertarian theory without first writing it in contract. That Block glazes over that, that he tries to explain it away, is very telling.

  • PIRS||

    “It is completely fucked up that you entertain the idea that you have the right to pich your secretaries ass and in other ways completely dehumanize her”

    If she consents it most certainly is a right. Do you believe prostitution should be illegal?

    “you don't even have the right to do that according to libertarian theory without first writing it in contract.”

    Do all contracts have to be written? Can I walk out of a restaurant without paying for my meal just because I do not have a written contract?

    “That Block glazes over that, that he tries to explain it away, is very telling.”

    So, do you have an actual refutation of his argument?

  • Edwin||

    R-tard, if you hire a woman, and don't say that part of the job is you get to touch her ass, then that isn't in the contract - firing her for not letting you touch her ass would be YOU breaching the contract. Just because a contract DOESN'T say you CAN'T do something, doesn't mean you CAN
    It's basic logic

  • PIRS||

    "R-tard, if you hire a woman, and don't say that part of the job is you get to touch her ass, then that isn't in the contract - firing her for not letting you touch her ass would be YOU breaching the contract. Just because a contract DOESN'T say you CAN'T do something, doesn't mean you CAN
    It's basic logic"

    You are very good at flinging insults but not nearly as good at reading comprehension. Where, in anything I wrote, did I say I would fire her for objecting to my touching her?

  • PIRS||

    "Just because a contract DOESN'T say you CAN'T do something, doesn't mean you CAN"

    This sentence also popped out at me. Are you defending Originalism in Supreme Court rulings on the meaning of the United States Constitution? Just asking.

  • Edwin||

    if you grab her ass and expect her to let you to or else she's fired when your original contract didn't say you were plnningon doing that, then she didn't consent to that agreement, did she? That's trying to unilatrally change the contract

    You woudn't expect to have the right to use an employee's car whenever you want on pain of firing unless you had stipulated you were going to do so in the original contract, right? Or sleep at his house some nights?

  • RanDomino||

    'cause it's no big deal to change jobs!

  • some guy||

    Much easier to demonize than to debate, huh?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    the problem with the librtarian claim is that the way workplace abuses happen is that the employer essentially unilaterally modifies the original contract with the threat of firing the employee later.


    If the employer REALLY changed the terms of a contract unilaterally, the employee can take him to court.

    Employment isn't and never was done by extremely detailed contracts for most workers


    That's because employees and employers are not selling each other a house.

    hell half the workers nowadays only speak spanish.


    Mentiroso.

    Even if they were, said contracts would still be hard to enforce,


    REALLY, law expert? You're lying.

    And then if the former employee loses, he's more screwed by the bills from the court action than is teh employer.


    It's actually the OTHER way around, but continue to say things that ain't... Go on, sweetheart.

    The manager(s) who pinch that secretary's ass or ask her to wear more revealing clothing didn't explictly say they would do so when they hired her, they just start unilaterally doing that later.


    Guess the discussion is not about workers anymore, it's about fannies and lowcuts.

    The employer who demands his workers come in on Saturday or else the employee is fired never explicitly said he would do that.


    Normally, what happens is that employees that don't work on off days are simply not paid those days. What UNIONS do is STOP competition from more ambitious workers that DO accept working on off days for more money.

    Workplace regulations like this can be seen as protecting people's basic property and contract rights


    Liar. Regulations and labor laws have NOTHING to do with property rights or contracts. Regulations co-opt a person's property and his or her freedom to transform or exchange it as he or she sees fit.

    MAYBE you could have a libertarian solution of specialized employment courts, deliberately made cheap and quick for workers.


    Maybe.

    And maybe an employment contract registry. But that would be stupid; legislation is much faster.


    Legislation can only cover a certain set of conditions and scenarios, and generate a NEW set of unforeseen problems. Courts can take care of situations on a one-by-one basis, leaving alone the parties that already have a working plan for safety and health that works for management and workers. Legislation is a one-size-fits-none solution, ALWAYS, as legislators are not more clever than everybody else.

    Hell, creating such a court system [...]would itself involve legislation to mandate it.


    Why would that be? Because you said so?

  • Edwin||

    What are you talking about? You think workers in the 20's and 30's had a lot of money? You think they had money to spend on a lawyer? The employers were clearly in a better position

    and you ignored my point - you HAVE to work on an off-day if your employer threatens you with firing, whereas usually the original contract never stipulated that off-days would be required

    I'm a LIAR? I think what I said was perfactly reasonable. I keep saying all over this website that legislation can often be seen as an alternative to courts, which have some fundamental problems. Legislation has it's problems too, for one thing, it's all-encompassing for different situations, but courts also have problems - namely that it can be hard to chase people down and do case after case, and it's expensive, and there's no foreknowledge of how your actions will be considered under the "law" (with courts being a form of law/having the force of law), that last one is a biggie.
    Why do you claim I'm lying? That's just the way I see things. Why does it have to be that I'm lying, not simply that we disagree? If you really believe that, you should stop spazzing out and grow up a little.

  • Edwin||

    Everybody can quickly, cheaply, and easily go to courts, which always come up with a just resolution in imaginationland!!!

    It's the real world that's the problem

  • Tony||

    I don't get why libertarians don't consider courts as a part of the evil government. The least democratic branch at that! If they really removed regulations and moved everything to the tort system, wouldn't that represent a vast increase in the size of government apparatus? I don't get it. It makes no sense on small government grounds, it ONLY makes sense on the grounds that it gives powerful interests less accountability.

  • PIRS||

    "If they really removed regulations and moved everything to the tort system, wouldn't that represent a vast increase in the size of government apparatus?"

    No. Because torts are outcome based. If an evil doctor attempts to kill you and make it look like an accident but, by some weird quirk, he accidentally saves your life from a terminal illness - wow - what is there to sue for? What damages have actually occured?

  • ||

    I don't get why libertarians don't consider courts as a part of the evil government. The least democratic branch at that!

    read the above article....it explains a lot.

    libertarians have a deep libertine strain. They don't want to be "ever vigilant"...they would rather have a self regulating system that they don't have to fuck with very much and allows them to retain their freedom.

    The courts provide that....and democracy without it would be a shit load of work which a libertine would rather avoid.

    Democracy is not the end all be all of libertarianism....it provides a service. ie fairly equal access to government which tempers its extremes. It also provides legitimacy and therefore stability from conquest rebellion and coups.

    Beyond that it provides nothing if very little else and if taken to the extreme can trample on other values we hold dear.

    Libertarians unlike the left want the whole package. We want all the good stuff democracy can give us, none of the bad stuff it can create, also we don't want to have to work to hard at it (ie a self regulating system) and most importantly we want liberty (rights the government can't take away) above it all.

    If you have any more questions about libertarians then feel free to ask more questions.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I don't get why libertarians don't consider courts as a part of the evil government.


    What happened to "race to the bottom"? Now you want to get into this fray?

    I don't get it. It makes no sense on small government grounds,


    Your lack of imagination and thinking skills are not anybody else's problem but yours.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    What are you talking about? You think workers in the 20's and 30's had a lot of money?


    What does money have to do with anything? If a contract was broken, the plaintiff will prevail. If not, then not.

    What matters is the OPPORTUNITY COST, Edwin. If instead of wasting time suing your former employer, you go out to find a job (maybe a better one), then WHY worry about a supposedly broken contract? It's only a job, you're not selling your fucking house!

    You think they had money to spend on a lawyer?


    I don't know. Did they? You seem to think they didn't, so that would mean you polled everyone or are privvy to a very big database of personal assets.

    The employers were clearly in a better position


    Yeah, right - even if that were true, it's more expensive to hire a person and train him and keeping a person. If an employer terminated an employee, it wasn't because the employee was doing a great job.

    and you ignored my point - you HAVE to work on an off-day if your employer threatens you with firing


    You don't have to do shit - if you don't like working on saturdays, you change jobs.

    Only economics-illiterate statist fucks believe that havng a job is a life-or-death thing. It ISN'T. I have been laid off a couple of times and ALWAYS found better paying employment each time.

    I keep saying all over this website that legislation can often be seen as an alternative to courts


    Yes, you have SAID that. Doesn't make it TRUE.

    but courts also have problems - namely that it can be hard to chase people down and do case after case, and it's expensive


    Maybe - what do you think is the expense for good-behaving companies to comply with new regulations? You think they will not lay off a few workers here and there to pay for compliance? You REALLY think it is MORE expensive overall for the whole economy for a few plaintiffs to rely on courts rather than for a WHOLE FUCKING INDUSTRY to be regulated?

    and there's no foreknowledge of how your actions will be considered under the "law" (with courts being a form of law/having the force of law), that last one is a biggie.


    If you say so. Nobody has foreknowledge of anything - just sayin'.

    Why does it have to be that I'm lying, not simply that we disagree?


    Ok, I apologize - you pulled that one out of your ass. There, happy?

  • Edwin||

    also, many places didn't have safety protocalls, and many workers were permanently injured and not compensated where it was clearly the employers' fault, like machine failure.

    picking out one example doesn't change the big picture

  • Old Mexican||

    Edwin,

    also, many places didn't have safety protocalls[sic], and many workers were permanently injured and not compensated where it was clearly the employers' fault, like machine failure.


    The proof is in the link - please, provide?

    picking out one example doesn't change the big picture


    Unsubstantiated assertions don't change it either. I know what I am talking about because I work in the industry. I know that few safety protocols come from worker suggestion as they love to cut corners; they come mostly from SUPERVISORS, who are the most concerned about down time. Workers have to be trained and reminded of the safety and health protocols each year (it's mandatory per MSHA and OSHA now, but only because a worker would claim that "I was not properly trained!")

    I've seen the old downtime and accident reports of almost 100 years ago at the cement plant I used to work, and the supervisors back then were as thorough as today's. There are MORE procedures now than before, but that's only because, like everything else in life, safety is a learning process - we're not born knowing everything.

  • Edwin||

    again, one industry does not an economy make.
    And even where there was safety trainging and protocalls, actual liability against the employer was lacking.
    You can say what you want, but alls I know is I would not want to be a typical worker/laborer in the 20's.
    Maybe now it's a different story w/regards to regulation, but back then the introduction of the various regulations was an improvement. Your libertarian revisionism ain't gonna change that.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    again, one industry does not an economy make.


    Again, you're talking out of your ass.

    And even where there was safety trainging and protocalls [sic], actual liability against the employer was lacking.


    WHY would there be liability against the employer? That is what you fail to explain, Edwin - if a person becomes injured due to his or her actions, why does that have to be the employer's liability? Most accidents in the US (see OSHA statistics) are because of simple CARELESSNESS from the part of the employee - WHY THE FUCK IS THAT THE EMPLOYER'S LIABILITY, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE???

    You can say what you want, but alls I know is I would not want to be a typical worker/laborer in the 20's.


    Neither would I want you to be one, as I would not have hired you. You complain too much.

    Maybe now it's a different story w/regards to regulation


    Ohhh, I would not want to hire you today, either, if you replaced your common sense with the following of regulations. Fools follow rules strictly; smart people use their evolution-given intelligence.

  • GMT II||

    Well lookie here, our Everlast bunny playing catcher has appeared. Good day to you Tonique.

  • creech||

    I hope the Atlas Society will do a review of his book and interview him as that would prove very interesting.
    Everyone has his own subjective preferences to balance work and leisure. I'm happy to allow you to find yours....just so I don't end up having to work to provide your leisure.

  • Jim||

    This is a fascinating look at a man in a transition in his thought, and his entire intellectual underpinning. I admire the fact that several times, he said basically that he doesn't have an answer for such-and-such yet, but that he is still in the midst of working through it. That's a refreshing level of intellectual honesty that one often doesn't find amoungst academics.

  • ||

    The price of freedom is ever vigilance

    This guy makes me want to say fuck that noise..."ever vigilance" sounds like a hell of a lot of work.

    How about we make a fair and self regulating system that I don't have to fuck with more then a couple times a year and that leaves me the hell alone?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Off-topic funtime:

    http://www.weebls-stuff.com/to.....:+Rampage/

    Chad's gonna hate this.

  • ||

    What's wrong about being a libertarian?

  • Daniel A.||

    I think Russell's argument about race and civil rights is hip-sounding bunk. What do blacks (or anyone) gain from adopting a world view that disparages work and achievement and glamorizes short term pleasure-seeking. I'll tell you what you get--dysfunctional ghettoes, poverty, and crime. Society needs bourgeois values to prosper. I do agree with him however about the working class. I also think that they are not anti-capitalist or radical in any way but simply want good pay, good working conditions, and decent vacation time.

  • Watoosh||

    I don't think it's the values themselves that Russell is criticizing, but the fact that MLK wanted to impose them in an authoritarian manner (not coercively, of course, but in a sort of "Follow my lead, fellow blacks" -kind of way). If a prosperous society does need a good work ethic, then it will arise naturally and from the bottom up (unless there's a safety net subsidizing unprofitable behavior), without doing too much damage to other cultural habits regarding leisure etc. To presume otherwise is basically to say blacks are naturally predisposed to be lazy and promiscuous and they need serious coaxing to get them to act white.

  • RanDomino||

    All that anyone wants to do is get drunk and screw. If it doesn't seem apparent in 'white culture,' it's because it's been driven out by hundreds of years of conditioning.

  • Anonymous||

    What is unlibertarian about restrictions on divorce? Don't libertarians believe in the sanctity of contracts?

  • ||

    from the article...

    "Basically my position is—and this is where I part ways with libertarians, not in principle, but as a practical, utilitarian position—if the state is going to give me something, I’ll take it. If it’s a road or a bridge or a check in the mail, I’ll take it."

    sorry dude, if you can't see that the state is not giving you something without acknowledging that it came out of some other taxpayers' hides, you're an intellectual hack and you're not a libertarian. you are a lefty. just don't refer to yourself as left libertarian.

  • Watoosh||

    Accepting goods and services from the government isn't inherently unlibertarian because it doesn't violate any rights (well, usually). Taxation does, however, violate those rights. You could make the argument that once those rights are violated, taxpayer money ought to go only to the services that are absolutely agreed upon like the police or the military, but you'll find anarcho-capitalists and anarchists (among others) who don't want their tax money funding those services either. Does it follow that you're being unlibertarian in accepting those services, since unwilling hands have contributed to them?

    It just so happens that the majority of Americans do approve of their taxes being used to fund SS or the infrastructure. A minority doesn't, of course, but for the moment being that's irrelevant since the taxes are being collected no matter what. So while waiting for a wonderous libertopia, you might as well take what the robbers are offering you and what most people are happy to fund, especially since you often don't have a choice in the matter.

    There's an old socialist saying - I don't remember exactly how it goes, but it's relevant for radical libertarians as well: "Let's eat first, then we'll talk about the revolution."

  • RanDomino||

    He was talking about average people, not libertarian intellectuals. People make decisions at the margin. If you're some poor schlub trying to raise a family on $9 an hour, working for a tyrant, and living in a run-down neighborhood, and the doors of a bank truck driving by pop open and a bunch of money falls out... are you telling me you're not going to grab it? Sure, sure, it comes from somewhere, and there might be consequences for someone else; but, come on. You know what you'd do.

  • dr kill||

    What a fucking putz.

  • Marcus||

    Turns out things like workplace regulations and increasing prosperity go hand-in-hand (and I would argue they compound each other).

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